The verdict on circumcisions?
The decision to circumcise your son is weighty for many parents. Pros of the procedure include reducing the risk of STIs for both female partners and the male themselves. Cons include pain, bleeding, possible infection and sometimes more serious complications.
Parents look to health care providers as the go-to source for information. However, a recent poll revealed that most parents do not want recommendations from providers on what to do.
The research came from a national poll on children’s health, which found that 81 percent of parents felt their baby’s health care provider was the best source for information on circumcision. However, only 23 percent said the provider should recommend what decision parents make.
More than 40 percent of parents polled said the provider should not recommend a specific decision about circumcision. Once parents have made a decision, 75 percent felt that providers should accept it, no questions asked.
“Our poll shows that parents don’t want or expect a directive from their health care provider, but want them in a consultant role, providing information so they can make up their own minds,” said Sarah J. Clark, associate director of the National Poll on Children’s Health, in a statement.
Parents do expect their health care providers to educate them about circumcision, and nearly 90 percent would prefer to get this information before the birth of the baby. According to the research, however, few parents meet with the pediatrician during the prenatal period.
“Although there is good evidence to suggest that circumcision is beneficial, there are also potential risks to circumcision, as well as socio-cultural and ethical issues for parents to consider when deciding to circumcise their male infant or not,” says Dr. Mark Butterly, pediatrician and director of the pediatric residency program at Advocate Children’s Hospital in Oak Lawn, Ill.
“Balancing these issues, discussing the medical benefits, as well as possible procedural risks of circumcision with your child’s doctor is the best way to help parents make the most informed decision for their child,” Dr. Butterly added.
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